OBITUARY: Romeo Gacad; 62
MANILA, Philippines—The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) is profoundly saddened by the loss of one of its long-time members, photojournalist Romeo Gacad of Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The consummate correspondent, Romy was a man of few words who let his images speak the truth. He always executed the perfect composition, whether in the battlefields or in life’s sprawling studio, earning him two Pulitzer Prize nominations along the way.
A mentor to many journalists, Romy taught invaluable lessons and offered a veteran’s insight, of slowing down and taking stock of the situation and reporting with care.
Always mindful that stories and pictures can change lives, Romy was exacting in his standards. He was humble, unassuming, and was the epitome of grace under pressure. While others chose to run, he carried on with measured and calculated steps.
We not only lost a great photojournalist in Romy. We also mourn a truly profound individual who offered sound advice to many younger comrades.
As we mourn his passing, let us remember his favorite greeting – “Mabuhay ka!” – and realize that there is much more to live for as we carry on chronicling the news.
In a statement, the Gacad family said Romy died on Oct. 30 at 6:14 p.m. due to complications from gastrointestinal cancer.
“Since 2013, he has been on a healing journey and managing a rare form of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cancer,” the family’s statement said.
“It metastasised to the liver in the past years,” it said.
“The treatment has been a combination of medication, holistic approaches and the occasional embolisation to cut blood supply to the tumor,” the statement said.
“Our dad enjoyed the care of incredible physicians and health and wellness professionals in Bangkok and Manila,” it added.
The rest of the statement read:
“Many know our dad for living a fearless and full life. He met the cancer challenge with the same inspiring energy—his commitment to his full health and healing came with creative flair, he held presence and gratitude for the many wonders of everyday life, and he shared meaningful relationships with friends and loved ones, all across Manila, Jakarta, Yangon, Bangkok.
On behalf of our family—dad’s siblings, the whole Gacad—Maniquiz clan, and our mother, Nida—we thank you for celebrating our dad’s life with us. To our dad’s dear friends and colleagues in the press and across the world, we appreciate the space and privacy that you are granting our family as we navigate joy, love and grief, across timezones, online and offline. Please continue sharing the tributes, anecdotes and memories that you may have of our dad, it gives us much comfort.”
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